Jennifer Runyon, Chief Editor, RenewableEnergyWorld.com
July 22, 2014 | 8 Comments
New Hampshire, USA -- Solar and energy storage are a match made in heaven and a new report from the Solar Electric Power Association, “Electric Utilities, Energy Storage, Solar: Trends in Technologies, Applications and Costs,” takes a deep dive into the energy storage sector. The report uses information from the Department of Energy’s Global Energy Storage Database to analyze 215 distributed generation energy storage projects developed by or in partnership with utilities.
This article can be found in the July/August 2014 digital edition of Renewable Energy World. You can preview the issue at this link.
“Electric energy storage (EES) has the potential to provide services to the grid, utilities, and downstream customers by improving power quality, reliability and adding needed capacity. EES should enable more solar to be installed on the grid while reducing the operational impacts of this variable resource,” the report says.
Terry Allison, a senior engineer at American Electric Power, said to SEPA researchers, Miriam Makhyoun and Mike Taylor, “Storage is absolutely necessary and it’s getting cheaper.”
According to a recent report from Navigant Research, the annual energy capacity of advanced batteries for utility-scale energy storage applications will grow from 412 megawatt-hours (MWh) in 2014 to more than 51,200 MWh in 2023, at a compound annual growth rate of 71 percent.
The highest growth and volume of sales of advanced batteries over the next 10 years will occur in Asia Pacific, according to the report. Power grids in the region are relatively immature, and the grid infrastructure still needs much work in many countries. This provides an enormous opportunity for the use of batteries on the grid as one method to balance the load with generation.
“While there are several chemistries suitable for large energy storage installations for the grid, the clear leader is lithium ion and its subchemistries,” said Sam Jaffe, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “Lithium-ion manufacturers have raced ahead in building manufacturing facilities, giving them considerable advantages in the ability to meet large-volume orders and utilize economies of scale in order to bring prices down.”
The report, “Advanced Batteries for Utility-Scale Energy Storage”, analyzes the global market for advanced batteries for large-scale grid applications.
In related news, the first grid-scale iron-chromium redox flow battery was recently used to commission EnerVault’s long-duration energy storage system. In May, the California Energy Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) dedicated EnerVault Turlock, the first grid-scale iron-chromium redox flow battery deployed in the world. EnerVault designed and manufactured the long-duration, grid-scale energy storage system in Silicon Valley with a combination of private funding and research and development grants from the DOE and the Energy Commission.
Long-duration energy storage systems are emerging as the lynchpin to efficient operations for resilient grids as aging conventional power plants are replaced by higher levels of solar and wind, according to EnerVault. Interconnected to the distribution grid, EnerVault Turlock is co-located with a dual-axis tracking solar photovoltaic system in an almond orchard in California’s Central Valley.
EnerVault’s system is a 1-MWh, 250-kW system that was manufactured in partnership with New-York based Ascension Industries, who built the first prototype. NORAM, a specialized engineering and process design firm, worked with EnerVault to scale production and commercialize the system, which is designed to continuously deliver full rated power for up to four hours.
EnerVault is promoting the wide-scale use of energy storage to enable the expanded use of renewable energy, make fossil fuel power plants more efficient, reduce the costs of grid infrastructure, and increase the reliability of electric service to commercial and industrial users. The company targets applications with demand for large amounts of energy and said that its approach is ideal for supporting renewables, peak shifting in commercial and industrial facilities, or enabling operation and increasing fuel efficiency in micro-grids.
Aerial view of the EnerVault Turlock demonstration project. Credit: Eddie Shvartzman/EnerVault
In the same month, on the same coast, Seattle, Washington-based UniEnergy Technologies (UET) announced commercial availability of its grid-scale energy storage system, called the Uni.System. The company said its system is modular, factory-integrated (including power conversion), and “plug & play,” comprised of five 20’ standard containers requiring only a concrete pad and interconnection that provides 500 kWAC of power for 4 hours, with power up to 600 kWAC and energy up to 2.2MWhAC.
The product uses a new generation of vanadium electrolyte that was initially developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory with support from DOE’s Grid Storage program, said UET President and CEO Gary Yang, who believes that the product is a breakthrough because it has “double the energy density and much broader operating temperature range.”
Yang said that traditional vanadium redox flow batteries have advantages such as “superior safety, unlimited cycle life, long duration, and full use of the battery from 0 to 100 percent state of charge” but in addition to those benfits, the Uni.System is fully containerized and includes “integrated electrolyte tanks, field-proven large-scale stacks, and optimized controls and power electronics.”
The Uni.System helps integrate renewables onto the grid by providing buffering capabilities – both short and long duration – to smooth the intermittent nature of wind and solar power. It also supports smart grids and micro-grids and meets other utility needs, according to the company.
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